Did you know that your About Page is one of your website’s most important tools? For some of us, it’s probably one of THE most-visited pages on the entire site. And that’s because people want to know who they’re about to do business with. Are you trustworthy? Do you know what the hell you’re doing? Do I even like you? Important questions! So you’d be doing your bottom line a huge favor to make sure that page is the absolute best it can be. And that’s where people get stumped. SO MUCH PRESSURE to be awesome will often times stop you cold. And for some of us, writing our About Page is a fate worse than cleaning out the science projects in the produce drawer of the fridge. I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that hard. This month in the Digital Dining Room, we tackled the About Page — that particular piece of your branding story that works like a foundation for the rest of your website “house.” I had folks do a self-inventory (via a series of exercises from my Find Your Secret Sauce course), and then select three new bits of information they wanted to add to their About Page. The mission: to re-write their pages using those new tidbits keeping the guidelines below in mind as they went.
The Realities of Writing Your Online Bio
First and foremost, remember that your website should be under your control. If you decide tomorrow that you want to change a teensy bit of text, you can and should be able to handle that yourself. You shouldn’t have to pay a web designer their minimal hourly rate to do that. Unless you want to. The thing is, it’s your house. You should hold the keys to the front and back doors. (Holding your own keys also takes some of the pressure off of having to have things perfect the first time around.) Second, remember that any writing we do never comes out perfect the first time. You will most likely need to revise your About Page at least three or four times before you publish it. And then tweak it again three or four more times after you publish it — per year. So relax. Change happens. Third, if you approach this project with a sense of play (and without the need to look cool — or the consummate professional), it will be a LOT easier to write something honest and fresh that showcases your talents and your personality. Again, relax. It’s important. But it isn’t rocket surgery.
How to Create Your Best About Page
You know I’m not a fan of templates. Anything that requires you to fill in some blanks only takes away your ability to be creative and think for yourself. But that doesn’t mean I can’t offer you some guidelines, right? Okay, here goes: More than a bio, what you really want your About Page to do is act as a stand in for YOU. Consider this page a virtual you who stands at the door and welcomes new visitors. What do you do when someone you’ve never met comes to your home? You greet them. You introduce yourself. You invite them in. In short, this is about helping your reader (or ideal client) understand that they’re in the right place. So start there. Keep just one person in mind as you write. Acknowledge that you understand what they’re going through and why they’ve landed on your doorstep. And then humbly offer them some reasons why you might be just the person to help them over their hurdles. Hint: you can brag about yourself a little, but lean more heavily on testimonials to do the heavy lifting of how truly awesome you are. The best test (if you’re not sure how much bragging is too much), is to read your copy out loud to a friend. Does it sound like something you’d really say about yourself (with a straight face)? Or does it sound like something someone else would say about you? If you’re a solo practitioner (or even if you’re not), I highly recommend you write this page in the first person. In your own voice. Using words you’d use if you were actually talking to someone. When you do that, you make it that much easier for your reader to connect with you (which is the whole darned point!). And last, this isn’t the place to show us how many big words you know. Or to use snooze-inducing jargon. Use plain, clear language.
That means sharing your multi-faceted self — weaknesses, quirks and all. Don’t get me wrong here. I don’t mean you should use this as a confessional page. But if you only present your best side, you’ll come off looking like a caricature — or worse: unapproachable. So pick one or two silly or irreverent things about yourself and work them into your bio. Bonus points if they’re things that your ideal client has in common with you.
Tell us a Story
Why are YOU here? What brought you to this particular place, doing this particular thing? Your back story is important and helps us get a better handle on why YOU. If you can show us why you’re the hero of your own story, it will help us see you as the mentor or professional we’ve been looking for. But don’t leave out the emotion. That’s a key piece of every good story.
Wrap it Up With a Call to Action
Every piece of copy or content you put out there — including this one — should end with an appropriate call to action. Ask your visitors to contact you (link to your contact form), connect with you on social media (link to your profiles), and/or subscribe to your newsletter (include the opt-in form right there). Don’t assume they’ll do these on their own. A little prompt from you can go a long way.
An Example that Works
One of the best outcomes from our Digital Dining Room project came from Stacey Shanks, a small biz coach who runs The Yoga of Business. Take a look at her About Page and see how well she brought all the pieces together.Stacey had an existing About Page that was definitely okay. But after our 1-on-1 time together, she was able to sit down and re-write the entire thing in one sitting (polishing later, obviously). She said, “Once I put myself in that space of talking to just one person, it just flowed right out of me.” She successfully wove together her own back story with her big Why (see, “I believe…”) and then shared a few other random bits about herself that help us see her as a real human being — but one that’s uniquely suited to do the work that she’s doing. I especially enjoy the photos she used. They really help round out her presence.
What did you like best about Stacey’s page? Or did you have any questions for her about the content or her writing process? And if you’ve got advice on how to write a great About Page, please share in a comment below.